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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think most of us have been caught off guard by how severe this recession is going to be. It’s exposing the weakness of an underdeveloped marketing system.

It’s all about marketing now. The companies that will survive this recession will be the ones that have the most effective marketing system.

If you’re spending a lot of money on advertisements that aren’t working it’s going to kill you. Or if you’re not spending anything on marketing it’s going to kill you.

If you want repeat business and referrals you must keep in touch with past customers so that they remember you. You should have a referral reward program so that they know the referrals are appreciated.

When times were good you could get by with an underdeveloped marketing system, but those days are over.

You’ve got to have a good marketing message. “Guaranteed Lowest Prices” isn’t going to cut it.

You’ve got to have a diverse source of leads; internet, direct mail, referrals and job signs etc.

You’ve got to know when and how to spend money on marketing or it’s over.

You’ve got to know how to find prospects with money or it’s over.

You’ve got to be a marketing expert or it’s over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
What are you doing in marketing that is different?
Most of it is top secret so I can’t tell you.

But I will say this; I am sending a newsletter to my customers. The main purpose is to generate referrals but once in a while I get repeat business.

Everyone knows referrals are the most profitable leads that you can get, what are you doing to get more referrals?

The newsletter I use is produced by R2R associates, which is owned by Phil Rea. You may have heard of Phil Rea, he is a sales trainer in our industry. The newsletter is customizable. They provide the content for the newsletter and you can have them take out some of the articles and you can insert your own stuff.

I remind my customers about the referral reward program in each issue.

Whenever I talk to a past customer they tell me how much they enjoy the newsletter. I also send it to people on my leads list.

Studies have shown that people can’t remember the name of the home improvement company that they have dealt with just 2 months after the project is completed. I know it’s true because I had my answering service call about 300 customers that were on my reference list. Most could not remember the name of my company but they could remember my name.

I think too many contractor ignore their customer base and focus mainly on finding new prospects. If you ignore your customers they will ignore you. If you don’t let them know that you appreciate referrals they will stop giving them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We do the same. Are you doing this hard mail or electronically?
I only send the newsletter by hard mail. I don’t think the content is something that people want to read on a computer. This is something that they can hold in their hand and read it when ever they want.

I also include a trivia contest each month with a prize of $25 movie tickets. It helps to get people involved in some kind of interaction with your company.
 

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I only send the newsletter by hard mail. I don’t think the content is something that people want to read on a computer. This is something that they can hold in their hand and read it when ever they want.

I also include a trivia contest each month with a prize of $25 movie tickets. It helps to get people involved in some kind of interaction with your company.

I'm familiar with r2r
 

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dsweet
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Marketing is the battlefield

You're singing my song! I've been sharing this info for the past couple years. :)

Marketing (tied in with a very strong sales and business system) are key.

There is a shift in trends of buyers again. Personally, I've always been a fan of the traditional newsletter via postal mail. I used to produce a quarterly one that we completely put together. I wrote all the content, sold some ads, did the publshing, printing, mailing, etc. It was about 14 pages long... and my customers LOVED it.

Whether you do online or offline newsletters - or any kind of marketing for that matter- there's a great way to build your busines -or you can use the same tools for marketing and totally miss it.

I have a very low cost tool I've used for the past few years. I start it online but it ends up being somthing physical in the hands of my clients or prospects. It's one of the most amazing marketing tools I've ever used... and some one I casually know, used it once to produce the WORST marketing piece I've ever seen!! LOL!

This is the time to decide how you want your business to grow - and then be willing to learn and be innovative in understanding what to do for your business to make that happen. :)
 
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To me everyone try’s to re-invent the marketing wheel. What works in one area might not work in another.

Websites, email, direct mail, job signs, radio, door to door, or standing outside the supermarket dressed like a giant paint brush( was a long time ago but it worked) we do whatever it takes.

The trick is to find something that works and then hammer the crap out of it.....

Sometimes you can do all of the above and get nada because people just are not spending but sooner or later they will but hopefully sooner ,and your marketing will pay off but its a tough ride when there’s no work....

2010 gonna be a challenge..........:w00t:
 

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Lets see some of your sales secrets.

You're singing my song! I've been sharing this info for the past couple years. :)

Marketing (tied in with a very strong sales and business system) are key.

There is a shift in trends of buyers again. Personally, I've always been a fan of the traditional newsletter via postal mail. I used to produce a quarterly one that we completely put together. I wrote all the content, sold some ads, did the publshing, printing, mailing, etc. It was about 14 pages long... and my customers LOVED it.

Whether you do online or offline newsletters - or any kind of marketing for that matter- there's a great way to build your busines -or you can use the same tools for marketing and totally miss it.

I have a very low cost tool I've used for the past few years. I start it online but it ends up being somthing physical in the hands of my clients or prospects. It's one of the most amazing marketing tools I've ever used... and some one I casually know, used it once to produce the WORST marketing piece I've ever seen!! LOL!

This is the time to decide how you want your business to grow - and then be willing to learn and be innovative in understanding what to do for your business to make that happen. :)
I'm always open to discussing new ideas in marketing and sales. You could write a newsletter regarding how it is unconstitutional and illegal for our government to demand that we buy health insurance, or pay a tax. The government cannot tax us for not doing something. Well.....maybe it can, but it is still unconstitutional.


Have a merry Christmas!
 

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Sales versus Marketing secrets, there is a difference

Just to be clear .... there is a huge difference between Marketing and Sales. I knew it would happen that someone would begin to delve into a sales topic off the marketing topic. Again, just to be clear, you should have a sales plan that is completely different than your marketing plan. Marketing happens well before a prospect decides to make contact with your company, and it also happens after your customer has purchased from you. Sales begins as soon as you have direct contact with the prospect or repeat customer. SALES IS items such as How you answer the phone to great a potential customer, How you show up to your scheduled appointment on time dressed in a professional manner and How you follow up and close the deal. MARKETING includes things such as a follow up after the job to see how the customer liked your work and do they have any referrals, as well as Newsletters, etc. My point is, ensure you have a Marketing Plan and a Sales Method as unique topics.
 

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To me everyone try’s to re-invent the marketing wheel. What works in one area might not work in another.

Websites, email, direct mail, job signs, radio, door to door, or standing outside the supermarket dressed like a giant paint brush( was a long time ago but it worked) we do whatever it takes.

..........:w00t:
Nick is right. The name of the game will be to focus on effective marketing channels to get the best return on your dollars since our top line is suffering during the recession. Cultivating and keeping a loyal customer base is very important in times like these. When real spending starts again you don't want your past customers to be looking for new contractors to work with because you have lost contact with them! Newsletters are a good way to stay in touch with your customer base, grow referrals, but also it psychologically PROVIDES something to your customer that can be priceless. A sense that you are willing to invest some your time to keep them as a customer and also provide them some free advice and tips. In fact you have a "relationship" with them!

Newsletters... as long as you don't turn them into spam... can be pretty effective. Touching base with your customers once a quarter in a short newsletter with a advice section related to your trade, is low cost if you have a newsletter module installed on your website.

Many good website developers can add them... I am going to have one added to my site by Rockbridge Designs who does my site. They are very good at marketing, forums like this, newsletters and other ecommerce stuff and they are reasonable.
 

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In my 15 years of painting, I've met lot of other painters who had shared their secrets with me. One painter who paid for a full page advertisement in the yellow pages and the other just referrals. Guess who is more successful. The one with the referrals. Its all about how you approach the customers. Having a fancy slogan will not make a buyer chose you over the other.
 

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Referrals are an excellent source of leads.

In fact, studies have shown that people do not want discounts, they want tangiable items.

If you offer " 10% Off ", it actually cheapens your image.

For example, last month we offered Gift Cards for every referral they sent us.

Our customers gave us 12 more customers.


Marketing is everything in today's market.
 

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We always go back a year after finishing any project, and fix any small problems for free. It keeps people happy, and often results in repeat business or referrals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What are you doing in marketing that is different?
What is it about your company that’s different?

Could a competitor take your flyer and insert their name where your is and keep everything else the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What are you doing in marketing that is different?
What is it about your message that’s different?

Do you use the same message to attract a customer that needs to have crap sucked out of their crawl space that you use to attract a customer for a high end bathroom remodel?

You’re doing mass advertising with a message for the masses. How is your “one size fits all” advertising working for you?

Do you think maybe you need a different message for affluent prospects?

Have you segmented your market? Are you going after affluent prospects or are you going after everybody?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Too much of everything.

Do you know what the problem is that you are facing right now?

There is too much of everything. And there is too much sameness in every category.

There are too many houses available.

Too many builders that are the same, too many realtors that are the same, too many mortgage brokers that are the same.

Too many flat screen TV’s, once everyone has one it doesn’t matter how cheap you make it, no one is going to buy it.

There are too many restaurants that are basically the same.

The result of this recession will be the elimination of the worst one-third of providers in every category.

The worst one-third of the roofers will be gone.

The worst one-third of the Remodelers will be gone.

The worst one-third of the flooring guys will be gone.

The worst one-third of the painters will be gone.

The worst one-third of the plumbers will be gone.

What’s sad about this is, some of the guys that are good at what they do will be wiped out because they can’t generate enough high quality leads to stay in business.

How can you differentiate your company from all the others that are competing for the same prospects? From a marketing standpoint, are you perceived as basically the same as most of your competitors?
 
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